Random ARTy Notes 2

ART &cetera

Random recent gleanings on artmaking & creativity (writing, living, homemaking, etc)

I can paint pictures, but I cannot rule men.
Blessed Fra Angelico (Giovanni da Fiesole, 1395-1455)
Italian saint, painter, monk

Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.
Alice Walker (b. 1944), 71

Question: Where do you find inspiration?
Art, nature, books and music. I look for beauty in everyday things, and store it all in my head and heart. Everything I love is automatically reflected in my work.
Yelena Bryksenkova
artist, illustrator, New England
in Flow magazine, January 2016

There was another way, the way of freedom, there was the paradisal entry into pure, single being.
D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
Women in Love (1920)

At one point I learned Transcendental Meditation. This was 30-something years ago. It took me back to the way that I naturally was as a child growing up way in the country, rarely seeing people. I was in that state of oneness with creation and it was as if I didn’t exist except as a part of everything.
Alice Walker (b. 1944), 71
writer, poet, activist
quoted in Circling Faith: Southern women on spirituality
by Wendy Reed, Jennifer Horne (2012)

They were almost like two souls,…two souls going hand and hand along the upper road that skirts the heaven of perfection.
D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
The First Lady Chatterly (1972)

Question: What inspires you?
Nature is my muse: I love to go camping and to be in the forest. And I collect vintage fabrics and English wallpaper.
Elizabeth Olwen, 2016
artist, illustrator, Toronto, Canada

Photography gives me opportunity to travel the world and go to places I have never imagined. I have met many great people and seen some amazing places.
Samson Hatae (b. c1986)
photographer, outdoorsman

The energy of this place [Destin, Florida] because of its natural beauty and the way of life is inspiring, and relaxing. I find inspiration in all aspects of all different cultures, not just the one I happen to live in. It’s raw, expressive, authentic and loose.
Justin Lyons (b. c1983)
artist, Florida

Question: How’s life as an artist in your hometown?
I love my city; it’s small and beautiful. I like strolling through it in the evenings, and find it very inspiring. It’s a very peaceful place. There isn’t much of an artist community here, but that’s okay because I like hanging out with people who do something completely different to me.”
Yelena Bryksenkova
artist, illustrator, New England
in Flow magazine January 2016

He who wishes to paint Christ’s story must live with Christ.
Blessed Fra Angelico (Giovanni da Fiesole, 1395-1455)
Italian saint, painter, monk

Question: Got a golden drawing tip for us?
I think it’s important to remember that nothing can be right or wrong when you draw. Earlier, I used to doubt myself before putting pen to paper, and question whether the end result would be dull or look stupid. But there is nothing right or wrong in art. It is your own interpretation of a form, an object or a motif, and that makes it so unique. The whole goal is just to have fun, be creative and express yourself. So be free and be yourself.
Elizabeth Olwen
artist, illustrator, Toronto, Canada

As far as painting goes, the artist Ray Turner once told me that a good painting should make the viewer feel all of their emotions: love, sadness, joy. My ideal painting, then, would be of a woman. I think they’re the most beautiful subject.
Tyler Warren (b. 1993), 23
artist, surfer, San Juan Capistrano

A beautiful woman is one of the glories of creation and one of the greatest objects of divine contemplation.
Blessed Fra Angelico (Giovanni da Fiesole, 1395-1455)
Italian saint, painter, monk

‘I wonder if it will be—can be—any more beautiful than this,’ murmured Anne, looking around her with the loving, enraptured eyes of those to whom ‘home’ must always be the loveliest spot in the world, no matter what fairer lands may lie under alien stars.
L. M. Montgomery (1874-1942)
Canadian writer
Anne of the Island (1915)

Oh! There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.
Jane Austen (1775-1817)

The key to having a successful in-home studio is turning your desk away from your bed.
I can get ideas just standing in the kitchen, but also before I fall asleep, it feels natural to work where I live, and to live where I work….
Joana Avillez (b.1987), 29
illustrator, Tribeca Manhattan

New York City is not a city, it is a country, where you choose where you want to be in life and how much you want to figure it out.
Moses Moreno
stylist and photographer

These mountains are full of Dharma friends;
we meditate and chant in a world apart.
If you look for us from the city wall
all you will see are clouds.
Wei Ying-wu (737–791)
Chinese Buddhist poet, recluse

Traveling keeps the mind going, it creates a non-stagnant life and teaches you to appreciate different cultures. I love surfing new waves, creating new memories, and meeting new people.
Tyler Warren (b. 1993), 23
artist, surfer, San Juan Capistrano

A tourist passes through the places they visit while a pilgrim allows the places to go through them.
brochure, Bardsley Island oratory, Wales 2015

Heaven is below our feet as well as above our heads.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Seeing Design in the Everyday
(or, The Antidote to Selfies)
by Rob Forbes (2016)

1. Walk around.
Find a cappuccino without a foam heart on top.
Turn over the cup or saucer.
Consider the silent hand of design.

2. Keep walking.
Actively observe where people choose to sit in public.
Note the preference for walls and stairs over benches.
Respect our resistance to direction.

3. Walk some more.
Listen to a bike passing you by.
Enjoying the quite hum.
Predict how many years of pleasant acoustics it will provide.

4. Walk on.


Since 2000, I have worked in a studio that’s part of a complex called Tussen de Bogen (“Between the arches”), in the Haarlemmer District of Amsterdam. As we are located near a little square and not in a dark little street, we get a lot of light but no direct sun. That’s exactly what you want if you do illustrating: sunlight without rays in your eyes. For me this is the perfect place. Working alone isn’t for me. I share the studio with three other illustrators. I can get so immersed in drawing that I don’t think of anything else. Luckily, working here, routinely someone breaks my concentration. I snap out of it, and I make myself an espresso. When I get back to my drawing table, I have distance from my work and can see more clearly,which can be a good thing at times. Over the years, I’ve collected drawings, presents and photos of loved ones around me. It’s nice to see familiar things when I look up. My cabinet full of children’s books and graphic novels is there for when I don’t know how to continue. I look at how another illustrator solved a certain problem and encourage myself by telling myself “Come on, you can do it, too…”
Gertie Jaquet
illustrator, Amsterdam

Question: Which city inspires you most: Shanghai or Amsterdam?
Shanghai. There’s always something going on, it stimulates and encourages me. My old memories of Shanghai are changing: the smell, the colors, the things, they are often gone. That is fascinating, too. Life in Amsterdam is much easier and more stable. I can write in peace and quiet here, without too many distractions.
Yue Tao (b. 1978), 38
writer, author of Shanghai Blue (2015)

I usually start off with coffee, and then check the waves. That usually determines how my day will go. If I have an art show coming up, I’ll paint or draw more, but I must surf once a day. Sometimes I’ll paint, surf, and shape [surfboards] all in one day, but usually I focus on one or the other.
Tyler Warren (b. 1993), 23
artist, surfer, San Juan Capistrano

If you could put Japanese illustrator Aiko Fukawa to work in a dark cellar, her drawings would be just as pretty. “As long as I have my pencils, paint and paper, I can get inspired anywhere,” shes says. “Drawing comes from within. Since I got married a year and a half ago, I work from our new home in Kawasaki, near Tokyo. The large living room also serves as my workspace. Around noon, I go and sit down at my desk with a large cup of white coffee, and my cat Maru comes and lies down next to me. My own illustrations are hanging on the walls because they inspire me toward new things. I go on till around 10 pm, with breaks. When things are busy, I work till the wee hours. I love the quiet of the night. Drawing is more than work for me; it’s a part of my life. Wherever I am, I collect images in my mind of what I see.”
Aiko Fukawa (b. c1981), c35
artist, Kawasaki, Japan

I rent a studio 15 minutes from my home. While I’m working, I move around a lot. I have two desks in separate corners, a sewing table, a standing area, a couch to lie down on. I need this variety in my creative process. From a different angle, I can literally and figuratively work at things in a new way. On the high wall hangs a piece that I’m working on now. I can look at it from all the different spots in my studio. I don’t give much attention to the tables and chairs in the space. They are inexpensive, from Ikea. It all gets dirty so fast; I find it a shame to spend too much on it. The coziness comes from my collection of old photos, newspapers, dolls, and paintings. I’ve been collecting vintage stuff for years. It inspires me. I set my alarm to go off every 45 minutes. Then, I’ll take a break. I’ll eat or drink something and walk around and then I’ll continue from another spot. This keeps my thinking fresh. Creating is an untidy process in my head so I try to be as organized as possible in other ways. I start in the morning with a to-do list. Right now I’m working on two illustration assignments, two books, and two exhibitions, so this helps me to stay calm and relaxed.
Lisa Congdon (b. January 17, 1968), 48
artist, illustrator, Oakland

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